Restarting My Fourth Novel Pt. 4

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Well, this was a bit of a crazy week, to say the least.

With the holidays, food comas and friend and family get-togethers, my writing has taken a wee bit of a backseat to life.  Oh and Monday was my birthday so there was that, too.  I took the day off so that I could get some actual writing done.  While I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, I am fully on track (I think).

I was at that point in the writing process where my muse had taken off for the weekend.  I wasn’t feeling it.  I mean, I did plug away at it as even 10 words is more progress than say 0.  Having Monday off really gave me time to look into what was needed and that was (Tada!) me knowing what all the other characters were up to while I had been focusing on the main group.

Research!  I had to go through my pages and pages of backstory and future-story.  To be honest, there are only about 50+ pages in the story bible, and only part of it is listed in a consecutive order.  So hello, haystack!  I have many needles in you and I don’t remember their names…

See the problem there?  How do I look for what character X was last doing if I can’t find them?  So yeah, umm, I reread pretty much the entire story bible to figure out who was who and what was who doing and was who with another who at the time?

I can sense anger as all those characters weep at my loss of memory of them.

But it was time well spent!  I mean not in number of words well spent, but actually having a clue of all the things happening roughly at the same time and jeez… there is a lot happening.  I think next time I will write the adventures of one solitary character with no other points of view to keep from getting lost. Yeah. Let’s see if my brain will allow me to do that, ha-ha!

Yesterday was part of a big slowdown in the word factory too, but for a more malignant reason.  Bowker Industries got hacked and a lot of people’s account stuff was stolen.  You’re asking, who is Bowker Industries?  Well, they are the one company in the USA that provides ISBNs  for books (click the link if you want to know more…).

I had purchased a block of ISBNs so I got to spend the day verifying that none of my account (bank, site, payment info, et al.) stuff was stolen.  Luckily for me, it wasn’t.  But I did get to spend a large part of the day resetting passwords to prevent damage to me and mine for the future.

All of my characters rejoiced at this… well, in my head they did…

So here I was struggling to find the time to get some writing done today when my writer friend Lyndsie Clark (you can check her out at http://www.lyndsieclark.com/) said she was going to a write-in yesterday.  Weirdly, I had just talked with someone that I needed to get out of the ‘chamber of words’ to get any real progress done. So that’s what I went and did!  Sign from the muse accepted.

The write-in was an interesting experience.  When I first got there, I thought I was the only one.  Now I was a little early, so I wasn’t too surprised by this.  Once my friends arrived, we were still the only people there writing. I had expected more.  This is when I found out the place had two sides separated by a wall and doors.  The other side had a lot of people typing away into their manuscripts!

I did get quite a bit of writing done there and it felt good to get out of the house to do it.  I am going back again on Friday, the very last day of Nanowrimo and write until the last minute!

Well, that’s my intention anyway.

Pies!

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So yeah, I was pretty excited about making pies yesterday.  Though, I was corrected that I was only making one pie and one tart in a pie crust.  Semantics!

They turned out pretty well and I wanted to share them with everyone.

I really enjoy cooking.  It’s an amazing skill to have that I get to use every day, multiple times a day.  Baking, on the other hand, is not something I am terribly comfortable with.  This was (technically) my third attempt at baking.  I know, I know, what about cookies?  I don’t include cookies in this because once you’ve got that dough, just don’t burn them.

I had attempted a raspberry crumble and while tasty, it was rather dry.  My next attempt was an apple pie but I didn’t know what I was doing and used a flan pan.  This was definitely NOT dry and tasted fabulous, but it was a mess to cut.

So, for the actual pie (thanks for the clarification, Désha), I went with a peach pie because we had a lot of peaches on hand.  Well, I mean I thought we had a lot of peaches.  Another run to the grocery store and we now had… too many peaches.

Recipes!

I am not crazy enough to figure out baking recipes of my own until I’m comfortable with the whole process.  For the peach pie, I turned to Alton Brown!  You can’t go wrong with Alton Brown.

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The recipe was pretty easy to work with and I thought it turned out really well!  Now I will offer some clarification, those are not what you may automatically assume they are.  They are monkeys!

 

Now, the next one was the one I super excited about.  For some reason, I had bought cranberries on a whim and then didn’t what I wanted to do with them.  I came across this Cranberry Curd tart recipe from Laughing Spatula.  This one was a bit more work and not a true pie (thanks Désha).  And man, is it tasty!

Well anyway, I had a blast making these and they turned out pretty well!

Restarting My Fourth Novel Pt. 3

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Time keeps on ticking, ticking… into the future…

Here we are at the end of week three of Nanowrimo!  To be honest, I’m not as far along as I would’ve desired.  I was hoping to have at least doubled what I had written the last two attempts and I’m not quite there.  I am within spitting distance though… though I don’t recommend spitting because of paper and electronics and water?  Yeah one of those things, most def…

I’m at the point where I want to be done with the bit I’m in and move on to the parts I’m excited about, but I can’t jump ahead this time.  Last time led to this disjointed affair that was a pain to fix and I’m not talking about contortionists getting busy… though that’s an idea I might have to save for later.  What would have been the cause of this meeting of the bends? Hmm…

Ugh, distractions.  As if the world isn’t enough, my brain wants join in the fun, too.  Well back to the topic (topic, topic, toepic, toepick…).  Oh, to be on the cutting edge of things…

One of the more exciting aspects of this latest week is that the story is going in places I hadn’t expected!  Characters are doing things that aren’t on my list and other characters I didn’t know about are running amuck as well.  It’s exciting! It’s different! And it’s new to me!  There is definitely more going on than I had initially expected.

So besides the doldrums of trying to get this thing done, how was the rest of the week?  Well, not too shabby to be honest.  I am prepping recipes for Thursday because I have too many mushrooms and too much fruit.  And the second one can only mean pies!  My baking ability is relatively untested as I am a much better cook.  But I am excited to make pies for some reason.  Pies, pies, pies.

See?  Distractions!  I’ve been to the grocery store this week in as many days there are in it.  Day one of cooking starts tonight!  Am I prepared?  I think so?

I hope everyone has (or has had… those crazy time dilations) an excellent Thanksgiving!

Now I have to get back to finishing this bit where she punches him in the face…

Restarting My Fourth Novel Pt. 2

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Has it only been a week?  I swear, sometimes it feels like it’s been a month and other times it only feels a couple days.

This November has been a bit of a time filled… time… No, I don’t like that, no, no, no.  Let me just say it’s been busy.  Most of the 8th and 9th were spent getting to and from places so my writing totals took a hit.  The 10th was an incredibly busy day but I did finally get to go to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe.  It was pretty amazing.  By the way, if anyone happens to go there make sure to check the mailbox at the very beginning.

The 11th was an eventful day as I got to see my wife be awarded for being awesome, but then it was followed by a snow storm and us being stuck in New Mexico.  Oh those crazy winds and those narrow mountain passes.  We did get back home on the 12th and then everything was back to a relative form of normality.

But yeah, my writing times and totals took a bit of a hit.

On the plus, I got more on this one done this one week than I did when I attempted this last year in the whole month.  So yay!  I haven’t quite doubled my overall output for last November and this April, but it’s within spitting distance.

So what have I learned?  As always, writing seems more exciting as an idea than as an activity, but the stories still want out!  Typing in a car with heavy wind and icy roads is about as much fun as it sounds.  It can get cold and lonely in the “chamber of words” as the day turns into night.

And the last lesson for now is, “I love it when my characters talk to me!”

Restarting My Fourth Novel Pt. 1

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My first week into this year’s Nanowrimo is very important to me for one gigantic, solid reason.  I am GOING to FINISH the first draft of Waltzing Matilda.

Last year was a struggle when I tried to write it.  And by struggle I mean, nigh impossible.  I thought I was prepared as I could be and I was super wrong (check out Writing My Fourth Novel Pt. 2).

But all that work from that attempt (building the timeline, character motivations, et al.) will… wait, I mean WILL pay off.  I have all the information I need… as far as I know at this moment.

Earlier this I did try working on book four but it was an even more frustrating experience than last year.  While I had written more in 2017, it was all disjointed and my brain could not make the connections work.  So I did something, I stepped away from it for many months.

This was probably the best plan, to be honest.  I got to work on a few other things, try and lock down this whole business experience, actually hang out with people and not feel like a mole man.  I had enough time to go on a trip to Ireland and actually got to get some reading done.  You see, I hadn’t read a book by someone else for a year and it was good to take my mind off of the veritable nail balanced on the table.

But as November drew nigh, I knew I needed to get back to it.  I grabbed book three and ripped through it and it was a fun experience.  I had forgotten so much that each page was almost like a new story (well except that déjà vu feeling in the back of the mind that I’d been there before).  I eagerly jumped into the notes and timeline for book four and it all made sense.  It was a tiny bit sparse here and there, but I’ve worked with literally nothing before.

I grabbed what I had written already and… it was disjointed.  Yet, I could see what sort of corrections were needed to make it click.  And that was Day 1 and Day 2 of Nanowrimo.

Here it is into the final day of week 1 and I have made progress into the middle!  Funnily enough, a lot of time is remembering character names and quirks.  It isn’t the fastest I’ve written but I don’t think it’s the slowest either.

And anyway, I have the WILL to GO and FINISH the story!

(Disclaimer: cheers and other celebrations to be set once it is completed)

Late Night Diary – October 2018

Day 1

I am feeling run down but I’m not sure why.  Hopefully I’ll get past this soon.  I have a busy month ahead of me.

Day 3

I can’t figure it out.  Every morning I wake up more exhausted than the last.  On top of that, breathing is a hassle, like it seems strained and I can’t get a full breath.

Day 6

I am so tired.  The only thing keeping me up is coffee and it’s definitely taking a toll on me.  I woke up and every inch of my body aches.  I know there is a storm front blowing in, but the body aches have never been like this before.

Day 8

Every morning is worse than the last, every breath feels more labored.  Worst of all, I have a giant bruise that runs from my left shoulder down to my left knee and I don’t know where it came from!  I haven’t left the house in the past two days and I don’t remember falling down.

Day 10

I think I almost died last night.

I don’t really know what happened but I woke up gasping for breath.  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get any air in.  I struggled to get to the bathroom to at least see if there was something physically wrong with me to explain it.

But there was nothing wrong that I could see except for the strain of choking e on my reddened face and the tears that streaked down relentlessly.  I ended up falling on the floor and prayed that I wouldn’t die.

With the last shuddering stretch, a tiny sip of air made its way in.  I gurgled as I tried to repeat this.  Eventually, I could breathe again.  The rest of the night was spent cleaning up the spittle that had dribbled out of me and showering the fear sweat off.

Day 11

I was hoping it might be a one-time thing, but it happened again!  I am going to the doctor to see what can be done about this.  I don’t want to die on the bathroom floor!

Day 12

Another evening of almost dying while gasping for air.  I seriously feel like a fish out of water.  I did make my appointment but the Doctor wasn’t much help.  She said I might have a cold and I’ll just have to wait it out.  If this keeps happening, I don’t know if I can live long enough to wait it out.

The whiskey is helping me relax.

Day 17

How many nights has it been now?  I feel so run down, like my soul is being slowly drained from me.  Strangely, it only seems to happen at night, so I’ve taken to trying to sleep in the daytime.  This too is taking its toll on me as I still have to go to work.

Day 20

I did make it through the night without almost dying, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel.  And I am beginning to feel better, not so run down.  But I keep catching myself falling asleep in the most inopportune places.  Hopefully I won’t have to keep this up for much longer.

Day 21

Damn it, I failed.  I couldn’t make it through the early morning and woke up strangling on my own saliva.  But I saw something odd right as I woke up.  I swear I saw what looked like the shadow of a man dart into the wall mirror.  But since I haven’t been sleeping well, I’ll chalk it up to sleep deprivation.  There isn’t a realistic answer for it besides that, right?

Day 23

Good God, do I feel terrible this morning.

I saw the shadow man again.

Weird side thought, I’ve learned that if I don’t panic while I can’t breathe that the throat muscles relax I can eventually get a breath in.

Back to whatever the hell it was; it resembled a full sized, man-shaped shadow and it ran directly into the big mirror.  I don’t think I would’ve seen him if I hadn’t stopped panicking.

Day 24

Another night and it was there.  It was right against my face when I woke up choking on something cold.  I tried telling my family what I saw, but no one believes me.  Even my job told me to take the week off involuntarily.

To be honest, I didn’t react well to this and I’ve taken to drinking more.  I’ll need to curb this before it becomes a problem.

Day 25

I tried to stay up all night in the bedroom so I could see where it came from and I almost missed it.  Some sixth sense stirred me and I was able to catch sight of the shadow come out of the small mirror on the wall and move to the edge of the bed.

Its eyes!  Frosty, sparkling pits that stared hatefully at me while a sense of urgent hunger permeated the room.  It flitted past and strode through the larger mirror against the far wall.  Even though I have never been so scared in my life, I kept my eyes on it the entire time.

Day 26

I came up with a plan but it didn’t work.  I flipped the small mirror toward the wall and threw a sheet over the big one.  I figured if it couldn’t see in, it wouldn’t come in.  But I was wrong, so wrong.

Because it came anyway.  Its cold, clammy hands gripped my cheeks while its icy lips pressed against mine.  I could feel myself growing weaker as this… this demon sucked the life out of me.  I could sense its mockery as it released my face and left me fighting for breath.

I had to think of something to survive this.

Day 28

I rented a motel room across town but it still found me.  I don’t know how much more I can take of this.

Day 29

I received a notification that my job had let me go; too many sick days.  As if I missed work for something fun.  Bastards.  I got so mad I ended up shattering the bathroom mirror with an empty bottle.

Maybe this was the way to deal with it?  Smash all the mirrors so it can’t get to me?  I won’t know until the morning.

Day 30

BLANK ENTRY

Day 31

BLANK ENTRY

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Life, What a Grand Adventure

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Whew, what a heck of a ride.

I am super excited that I got The Matilda Season One out on Amazon and also got Nun With a Gun on other providers in these last two months.  I feel like I’m getting a solid handle on this whole thing and that makes me feel pretty darn good.

On top of that, I just got back from a trip to Ireland and we had a blast.  It’s a beautiful country and the people were quite lovely.  And while we ended up crossing the island and driving almost the entire southern coast, it was definitely a needed break before coming back to the daily grind.

On the not-so-great side, I got to bring back a new illness (I mean jeez 2018, can you please stop with that?) which I am finally getting over (and there was much rejoicing).  I also took a mighty fall due to my own stupidity and luckily escaped unbroken.  Bruised?  Yes.  Pride take a hit?  Yes.  Make everyone laugh so they had a story to tell? Also, check.

Nanowrimo is literally right around the corner and after going through my stuff, I realized I haven’t written a story of any length for over a month!  I am setting up to get the fourth Matilda story completely done for this Nanowrimo.  I haven’t succeeded at getting the first draft done during my past two attempts.

So, do I feel prepared? No. Am I going to do it anyway? Hell to the yes!